Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jun 2018
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Joyanne Pursaga


Manitoba's Justice Minister is calling for federal legislation to
confirm that provinces can ban the home growth of marijuana plants.

"I think that is clear that is provincial jurisdiction to make that
decision. (But) I believe the federal (Justice) Minister made some
comments that were a little concerning, so we wanted clarification on
that," said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, following a speech to
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce members on cannabis legislation
Thursday. "We've called (for) some clarification from the federal
government. If they could put it specifically in legislation, that
would be best."

The minister said no federal assurance on the matter has been received
so far.

The federal government originally planned to allow legal pot sales on
July 1, 2018, but has since confirmed that will be delayed. While the
new legalization date hasn't been set, it's not expected to arrive
until at least August.

But federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has told media
"there are limits" to the restrictions provinces can impose on home
marijuana growth, since proposed federal rules would allow Canadians
to grow up to four pot plants at home.

"Where there are other pieces of legislation or proposed pieces of
legislation that would seek to frustrate the purposes (of the federal
legislation), then there are concerns there," Wilson-Raybould told CBC
News in February.

On Thursday, a federal justice official referred Winnipeg Sun
questions on the matter to Health Canada. In a written statement,
Health Canada spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau said provincial governments
can set further restrictions on personal cultivation "beyond what is
outlined in the proposed federal legislation."

"This flexibility is intended to allow provinces and territories to
tailor their legislation to local circumstances and priorities, in a
manner that is consistent with the public health and public safety
objectives set out in the proposed Cannabis Act," wrote Jarbeau.

She added that a court challenge, however, would weigh whether those
provincial restrictions "frustrate the purposes of the federal law."

Meanwhile, Stefanson said she also remains concerned marijuana
legalization is being "rushed" at the federal level, especially since
police don't yet have the devices needed to assess suspected
marijuana-impaired drivers.

Chuck Davidson, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, said
more public education should also occur prior to legalization.

"(For a major policy change), you typically want a three-month
timeframe to be able to educate the public in terms of 'Here's what's
coming, here's what the rules are going to be.' The worst time to do
that education is right in the middle of summer," said Davidson.
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